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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Pandemic Diaries: The Essentials

The pandemic has taken everyone by surprise and has upended the way we live our lives. The lockdowns and the precautions being taken to prevent the spread of the virus has meant changing so many things about the way we go about our day to day activities. Personally, the situation has forced me to look at how I was living and what things were profoundly important and essential.

With people being asked to stay home and to limit trips outside to only the essentials, we are also suddenly tasked to identify the things that are important to us. We need to ask ourselves: “Is it worth the risk of exposure? Is it worth possibly getting infected?” 

What is essential enough that I would risk going out for?

Naturally, groceries are important. Food, toiletries, cleaning products...we will risk going out for that. Although to be honest, if I can get them delivered, I would do so as much as possible. Sadly, grocery deliveries aren’t available in my area just yet so I make do with what’s available online and we go out for the rest. 

Medicine is also important. Again, online ordering and delivery isn’t available in our area, but we are able to call Mercury Drug to reserve our medicine for pickup. It still means waiting in line along with a bunch of other people (which is risky) but it does make the purchase process a bit faster than usual. 

Going to the doctor is essential for me since I have medical conditions that require maintenance medicine and regular evaluation by my physician. As scary as it was to go to the hospital for a checkup, I was at least comforted by the fact that the hospital was taking extra precautions to make sure that people are safe. As someone with conditions that have been identified as at-risk, the checkups are important because not checking in with my doctor is just as risky as going out for non-essentials.

Another essential? Work. I would very much prefer to be working from home, but my boss is determined NOT to allow people at the office to do that. It blows my mind that my boss thinks that way even if the government has recommended that people like me who are at risk and with jobs that can be done anywhere should work from and stay home. Nothing I can do about it though. If I want to still have money to pay for my bills and medical expenses, I need to work. If I had any other option, I’d rather stay home but considering that so many people have lost their jobs during this pandemic, I suppose I should just bite the bullet (so to speak), take the risk and bear with it.

I find it bizarre that there are people who already go out to eat and meet with friends once some of the restrictions were lifted. There are people who have already had parties/gatherings that are still inadvisable since the virus is still around and there is still no cure. While seeing family and friends you have not seen in a while is valuable, I do not think it is that essential. When the virus and the spread of the infection has been controlled, when the cure and the vaccine has become available, we have all the time in the world to get together. But to risk it all for a few hours together feels too huge a gamble in my opinion. 

I have also decided that shopping for clothes, shoes, bags, and makeup is not an essential thing to do during this pandemic. I only go out when it is necessary and I don’t wear anything fancy when I go out. I try not to bring a bag and if I do, it is usually just a body bag or a canvas bag – something I can either disinfect or wash easily. The only other time that I am out is to the office and I wear a uniform to do so. That is why clothes, bags and shoes are not high on my priority list. Makeup, on the other hand, is something that I have not put on since the lockdowns started. There is no point to wearing makeup when I am wearing a mask the entire time I am out. All it does is stain my mask and makes it difficult to wash. I’m better off without it.

Another thing that I have decided would NOT be an essential: going to the salon. My hair has never been this long since 1993 since I prefer keeping it a manageable length, but I have decided not to visit the salon for my haircut. I have seen the news where several people who were infected in the US could be traced to when they went for a haircut. I can live with my hair getting longer than normal. If the word “live” can be part of the equation, I can deal with it.

These times have made me reassess what is important in my life and what is not. When this is all over, I will most likely be living a simpler life than I used to because of what I've learned from this experience.

What about you? What has become essential for you? What things can you not live without and what things can you sacrifice for the meantime?




* Image by Natalia Lavrinenko from Pixabay

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